The matriarch of the Awolowo family, Chief (Mrs.) Hannah Dideolu Awolowo, fondly called HID, has passed on, aged 99.
Awolowo, wife of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, died, yesterday, at 3:15 pm, two months to her centenary birthday. She was said to have passed on after she held a meeting with her family members on the plan for her 100 years birthday.
Announcing the demise, her eldest child, Omotola Oyediran, in a statement she signed on behalf of the family, said “mama died while praying for her children over her planned centenary birthday”.
The statement read: “Mama died as glorious as she lived. She spent the day in the company of her children, grand children, great grand children and close family. She shared a precious few minutes with them when she went in to pray for them as they met to plan her centenary birthday.
“They sang her a befitting song as she came in and she continued to pray for them. She died a couple of hours later as she had always wished to be surrounded by her children, grand children and great grand children.”
The first callers to the Ikenne, Ogun State family house of the Awolowos include Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa; the deputy governor, Yetunde Onanuga; a former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s wife, Olufunsho.
HID, once described by his late husband as his Jewel of Inestimable Value, was born on November 25, 1915 in Ikenne. A successful businesswoman and astute politician, she was the First Lady of the old Western Region when Awolowo was Premier in the First Republic. During the crisis in that political dispensation, she stood in for her husband in the alliance between the NCNC and the AG, called the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA), while he was tried and jailed.
HID toured the country with her husband in the Second Republic when Awolowo sought to be President on the platform of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). She also coordinated the women’s wing of the UPN. A businesswoman, she became the first Nigerian distributor for the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) in 1957. She was the first to import lace materials and other textiles into Nigeria.
She is blessed with five children, 20 grand children and 32 great grand children.
She was the Yeye Oodua of Yorubaland, bestowed on her by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, and a recipient of the national award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
HID was very close to her late husband who she on an occasion described as a loving, caring and affectionate partner, noting that he would continue to be remembered for his uprightness.